Marston’s Biopic Debuts
With Wonder Woman currently dominating movie screens (and perhaps the summer box office), it is time to look at her origins. Not Princess Diana’s origins, but that of her creator. William Moulton Marston was a psychiatrist, an inventor of the lie detector machine, and an early champion of women’s rights. He also led an unconventional double life with his wife and their joint mistress. This fall, Annapurna Studios is set to release a biopic of the creator of Wonder Woman, as well as that of the two women in his life. On Tuesday, the trailer debuted.
An Unconventional Life
The movie’s plot is summarized as thus:
In a superhero origin tale unlike any other, the film is the incredible true story of what inspired Harvard psychologist Dr. William Moulton Marston to create the iconic Wonder Woman character in the 1940’s. While Marston’s feminist superhero was criticized by censors for her ‘sexual perversity’, he was keeping a secret that could have destroyed him. Marston’s muses for the Wonder Woman character were his wife Elizabeth Marston and their lover Olive Byrne, two empowered women who defied convention: working with Marston on human behavior research — while building a hidden life with him that rivaled the greatest of superhero disguises.
The movie stars Luke Evans (Beauty and the Beast, The Hobbit Trilogy) as Marston, Rebecca Hall as Elizabeth, and Bella Heathcoate as Olive. The movie does not shy away from the Marstons’ and Olive’s lifestyle, replete with the S&M found in early Wonder Woman comics. But it is also critical at those who would object to such a lifestyle, as portrayed by the censorious ladies committee grilling Marston over the comics in the trailer.
Professor Marston & The Wonder Women is set to debut October 27th. For more information on this fascinating story, Word of the Nerd recommends The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore.